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More European support for US policies

“The Economist” believes that the Bush administration’s “new approach in foreign policy is gradually winning even the Europeans over” and refers to a better transatlantic dialogue, but remarks:

But how to get a confidential discussion going, with 25 countries on the European side? One idea is to revive the “Quad” of America, Britain, France and Germany, perhaps with the addition of Poland and Italy.

The other problem is that the sort of world-shaping dialogue America is keen to have with Europe over China, and much else, is one that EU leaders have never yet had among themselves. By taking the EU seriously as a partner, Mr Bush may force its leaders to start thinking strategically about the world beyond their back yard. That would be an achievement.

US-German conflict over UN reform

"Berlin and Washington are bound to collide head on in the coming weeks and months over reforming the United Nations Security Council", writes “Handelsblatt” feature writer Christoph Nesshoever for the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies’ publication “Advisor.”

While Germany is keen on a permanent seat, the US prefers

a leaner, more effective organization, one more inclined to support U.S. policies around the globe instead of opposing them, a sort of legitimizing tool for “coalitions of the willing.” (...) Privately, administration officials fear that the fifteen-member Council could face not just occasional but permanent gridlock with some twenty-four members. Seen from inside the beltway, the current gridlock between the fifteen over how to stop the genocide in Sudan is a troubling repeat of past tragic moments of the Council’s inertia.

Nesshoever concludes:

A good course for Germany may be to convince the Bush administration that it is ready to play an active role in world politics – by finally beginning to build up credible capabilities for the projection of military force around the globe. After all, a Security Council seat brings with it enlarged responsibilities that have to be met. A good course for the United States may be to rid itself of its distrust towards the Germans engendered solely by their disagreement with America on the issues of Iraq.

 

President Bush nominates undiplomatic hardliner as ambassador to the UN

“Some have said that sending you to the U.N. would be like sending Nixon to China. I'm afraid it would be more like sending a bull into a china shop," said Senator Joe Biden to John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Jon Stewart's Daily Show sums up the arguments against John Bolton. Short video footage from the Senate hearings.

 

John Bolton “would be far from the first US envoy to the UN to have the word "controversial" often cited in front of his name,“ writes the Christian Science Monitor. The UN Security Council is “one of the few international forums where we are one of many. We feel we need a distinctive, pointed voice there," remarks Thomas Carothers from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in the same article.

The magic triangle: Europe, China and the U.S.

The leading neo-con magazine “The Weekly Standard” runs an article on transatlantic disagreements on free trade, airbus and agricultural subsidies, the US trade deficit.

The Europeans and the developing nations profess horror at the appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. They say he doesn't know anything about development, but really worry that he knows too much: that loans to undemocratic kleptocracies might fatten Swiss bank accounts, but do little to fatten starving citizens of so-called developing countries. But Gerhard Schröder and his friends were reluctant to oppose the Wolfowitz appointment, lest they appear to be snubbing President Bush's recent friendly overtures. So they approved the appointment, and will seek a quid pro quo--the appointment of France's Pascal Lamy to fill the vacancy at the head of the World Trade Organization. Lamy is dedicated to the maintenance of the European Union's protectionist agricultural policy, which further enriches well-off French farmers at the expense of poor farmers in developing nations. If he is appointed, and spurns Bush's proposal to end both E.U. and U.S. export-inducing farm subsidies, the Doha round is doomed.

Tocqueville Tour

“It was a stroke of genius for The Atlantic Monthly to renew the Tocquevillian project by commissioning the distinguished French philosopher, journalist and gadfly Bernard-Henri Lévy to repeat Tocqueville's journey through America and chronicle his observations”, says The New York Times.

Dangerous financial dependence

According to “The Economist”:

America and foreign central banks are locked in a codependent relationship: America is addicted to spending, and the banks can’t stop throwing money at it in order to keep their currencies down. This is unhealthy for both parties, say the IMF and the World Bank. But is there any political will to change it?

Idealistic Republicans, Realistic Democrats

The Global Beat http://www.nyu.edu/globalbeat notes: U.S. Foreign policy has traditionally oscillated between Wilsonian idealism and pragmatic realism, with Republicans generally favoring realism. In reviewing three books on American foreign policy for FindLaw.com, Andrew Dworkin notes that President Bush appears to have reversed the normal roles:

"Since the time of Woodrow Wilson, moral idealism in foreign policy has generally been seen as a Democratic position. But it is a Republican president who now purports to espouse an idealistic approach to world affairs, seeking to establish a new international order on the basis of ending tyranny and advancing freedom. (…) By contrast, the Democratic candidate in last year's presidential election, Senator John Kerry, emphasized primarily the costly and counterproductive nature of the war in Iraq, describing it as an unnecessary distraction from the more important objective of defeating Al Qaeda. In contrast to Bush, Kerry took a position closer to the foreign policy tradition of realism - an outlook which aims at the promotion of national security, wealth, and power through conventional diplomatic means.“

Three Blogs on transatlantic issues

One of our readers recommends these three blogs:

Seit 01. Februar 2005 auch in deutscher Sprache: Medienkritik Online (Partner Blog zu ‚Davids Medienkritik’)“ http://medienkritik.typepad.com/deutsch/

Statler und Waldorf:http://www.statler-and-waldorf.de/

No Blood For Sauerkraut! („Der Titel macht sich über "No Blood for Oil" lustig; viel Sprachwitz; ziemlich bissig, aber dennoch sachlich fundiert; hat auch oft Spiegel Online im Visier“): http://napauleon.typepad.com/nobloodforsauerkraut/